Root crops are some of the absolute easiest to grow! As I plan out my garden crops each spring, one variety of vegetables that just has to make it onto my list is beets. Homegrown beets are very delicious—but sometimes beets are overlooked, especially if you haven’t learned how to prepare them in delicious ways that your family will love!
I always start my beets from seed sown directly into my garden soil in early spring. Detroit Red and Cylindra are two of my favorite varieties of beets. Detroit Reds grow large round full flavored beets; Cylindras are good too and they’re nice for slicing and cooking as they maintain a more consistent diameter. I’ve tried growing the yellow beets but they didn’t turn out to be family favorites.
Now to the good part! How do we prepare them for meals in our home? I think my favorite recipe for beets is probably Beet Salad. Even our grandchildren love beets and enjoy them prepared this way.
One of the ingredients in this recipe is horseradish. It’s optional, but it adds a really nice little kick to the flavor, along with the lemon juice, garlic, and a creamy dressing. I started my horseradish years ago from a root that had gotten old and started growing little hairy roots on the original root. I planted that hairy root into the soil and year by year the roots have multiplied and spread. The leaves of the plant aren’t edible but they’re attractive. They actually have kind of a tropical look! Since this plant is perennial it’s best to grow it in an area apart from your regular garden rows so you can just let it spread. I’ve been growing a little stand of horseradish in my garden for about 7 or 8 years now. I can harvest as many roots as I need virtually any time of the year, then simply grate them fresh and add them to various dishes.
Beet Salad Recipe
The first time my husband and I tasted this zesty salad was when we were visiting our friends Natalia and Octavian for lunch several years ago. Now we make our own version with flavor-packed beets & garlic, freshly harvested from our garden! We also have a nice little crop of horseradish coming up every year. Serves: 4-6
- 8 - 10 med. beets
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 - 2 cloves fresh garlic
- Homemade Mayonnaise, to taste
- 1/4 C. fresh horseradish, finely grated
- Sea salt, to taste
Cover beets with water in a saucepan and cook until just tender. Cool, then grate into a bowl. Add garlic, horseradish & lemon juice. Toss with just enough Vegenaise to moisten well, and add salt to taste. Enjoy warm or chilled.
Note: To preserve horseradish for year-round use, grate the horseradish root finely and pack into a small glass jar with lid. Cover with olive oil and close jar. Store in refrigerator.